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Ban cars on roads near schools says mayor of London

Sadiq Khan criticises the government for ignoring "unarguable evidence" and says we should be protecting our children from air pollution...

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has called for schools to be car-free zones while criticising the government's response to air pollution.

Khan's call come off the back of his criticisms of Phillip Hammond's inaugural Budget, specifically the Chancellor's failure to raise taxes for the most polluting vehicles on our roads.

Fresh in the mind of the mayor, too, was a report into the effects of air pollution which he commissioned and was published in February.  

The report found that 802 London school children routinely breathe in toxic air, increasing their chance of developing respiratory conditions like asthma. The report also found that around 9,000 early deaths per year were linked to air pollution.

Speaking to the Times, London's mayor spoke of his anger and confusion at why the government, schools and councils cannot work together to solve this problem.

"The reason why I'm so angry about this and it's a priority for me is that the science and the evidence is unarguable and yet it appears the government is ignoring it," Khan said.

"Why can’t we work with schools and councils to have some roads outside schools where cars aren’t allowed to go? 

"Really encourage mums, dads, carers and children to walk to school. It will be safer and you are not breathing in toxic air when playing in the playground.”

The move, of course, wouldn't only encourage families to walk to school, but would include a much greater push for parents to take their children to school by bicycle.

Still in his first year as Mayor of London, Khan has spoken on several occasions of his support for cycling in the city.

>Read more: Sadiq Khan pledges to triple London cycling infrastructure

Clearly aware of the dangers posed by air pollution, Khan expressed how seriously he is taking this matter.

"You can’t play politics with people’s lives and people’s health," Mr Khan said. “Every day action is delayed it means another young person breathing in this toxic air, an older person having breathing problems because of the poor quality of the air and literally people die."

Khan did not, however, continue his rhetoric to match many of his European counterparts in cities like Paris, Madrid, and Oslo who are pushing for a total ban on diesel cars.

In defence of his lack of support for such a move, Khan claimed that there is "no roadmap for how they get from here to banning diesel."

To put into perspective just how serious this situation is, London broke it's annual pollution limit for 2017, imposed by the European Union, in just 5 days.

>Read more: London breaks annual pollution limit in just 5 days

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